Swarms are the natural way colonies reproduce. A swarm usually occurs because the hive has become too crowded and some honey bees leave to find another home. The other honey bees in the colony will stay behind and carry on a before. Thus a natural spilt of the colony.
Swarms look like the cluster of honey bees in the photos below. If you have a swarm in your garden, firstly don't panic, they're not interested in you as they are looking for a new home and may disappear. As a precaution though do not let people and animals get too close. We have a small team of volunteer swarm collectors who can come out and collect your swarm.
If you think you have a swarm of honey bees, send us an email here. It would be helpful to us if you include answers to the following questions about the swarm in your email :
Describe what you have seen or ideally send a picture.
Size of cluster (e.g. football size etc.)?
Honey bee swarms are thousands, not a dozen or so
Location/access (indoors, outdoors, chimney, etc)?
Height (e.g. 1st floor, roof top)?
How long have they been there?
If they are very high or in a difficult place we may not be able to get to them but can advise what might be the best next step. We do not collect swarms in chimney's. Please note that we do not collect bumble bees or wasps for which you will need to get in touch with a pest control service.
Once we have received your email, you will be contacted to arrange collection.
If the swam leaves before the beekeeper arrives or if someone else collects it, please let us know to save a wasted journey.
Swarm collection is carried out by a small number of experienced beekeepers in our association who have volunteered to do so. They are NOT paid to provide this service and swarm collection is entirely at their own discretion. The beekeeper may not be able to come immediately; he/she may have jobs and commitments of their own. Lastly, beekeepers have to consider their own safety; it may not be possible to remove a swarm from difficult-to-reach places.
As the removal of a honeybee swarm is free of charge, a donation to scbka would be gratefully received.
There is more information about honeybee swarms and bee identification on the BBKA website.